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Johnson Controls Launches Hospital Efficiency System

Johnson Controls has launched an offering that it says will reduce the energy spend of surgical suites by up to $10,000 per operating room.

Healthcare Environment Optimization integrates a hospital’s building automation system with surgery scheduling to optimize air exchange rates and energy use. It was developed in collaboration with architecture and engineering firm HDR.

Johnson Controls says that historically, operating rooms’ heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have used a substantial amount of energy to effectively ventilate and eliminate airborne contaminants.

“Typically, a high volume of air is being moved through the operating room around-the-clock, even when the room is vacant. This wastes energy and valuable dollars, but with Healthcare Environment Optimization, we can now control the air flow in an efficient and safe manner,” director of healthcare Richard Smith says.

Healthcare Environment Optimization translates and routes data from surgery scheduling to the building automation system and determines which of the two HVAC system modes should be used: surgery or setback.

When the system is in surgery mode, the HVAC system achieves a minimum number of air changes every hour, in accordance with industry or local authority standards. But most regulatory entities state that air changes may be reduced to 25 percent of suggested values when the operating room is unoccupied, and the Johnson system moves to this lower level in setback mode.

“Healthcare Environment Optimization enables our customers to capture this opportunity to reduce energy usage and operational costs based on real-time surgical schedules, which we all know can change on a rapid basis,” Smith says.

The new product also allows provides:

  • The ability to track air exchange rates and temperatures for recordkeeping purposes.
  • An optional user interface display which gives surgical and facility staff control of the room conditions, including a manual override to adjust temperature.
  • Real-time alarms which allow occupants to immediately address HVAC system problems.
  • The ability to earn credits toward LEED and Energy Star certifications.

Union Hospital in Terre Haute, Ind., is a beta test site for the new software solution. The hospital’s new five-story, 500,000-square-foot facility features a surgical suite comprising ten operating rooms. It will use Healthcare Environment Optimization to mesh its surgical scheduling system with Johnson Controls’ Metasys building management system.

“We are the largest provider of health services between Indianapolis and St. Louis, and in order to continuously improve and expand our services, we must strive for the most efficient operations at all levels,” says the hospital’s facilities director, Dave Snapp.

“The surgical environment is especially sensitive and corners can never be cut. Through Healthcare Environment Optimization, we expect to reduce our energy use and operational costs, but more importantly, we plan to do so while maintaining an uncompromising surgical environment for our patients and clinical staff,” Snapp added.

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